Slow Food UK engage the community in rediscovering our heritage

13 Nov 2008 | English

A Perry tree can live up to 350 years but what use is this if we don’t engage in the reason for the tree being there, understand the land that it stands on and what it can offer us as a community?

Slow Food UK is using its greatest asset, over 50 convivia (local groups) to reach out to the community through their Orchard Project. The Slow Food UK Orchard Project’s aim is to create awareness in the UK of our heritage orchards, community orchards and our orchard fruit. By recording where heritage trees exist we can identify where there is a need to re-establish forgotten varieties that are native to a particular region.

Slow Food UK are connecting – convivia, orchard and community. They will create a series of maps plotting where you can find your nearest convivum, orchard and school. Bringing together communities to ensure the knowledge of our heritage fruit varieties is passed on to the next generation. The Slow Food network of communities will work with members, non-members and like-minded organisations to establish what we already have. Identification is the key to rediscovering our heritage.

The Slow Food UK Orchard Project will be launched at The BBC Good Food Show London Olympia on November 14 at The Slow Food UK Stand (SL9 Gallery Level) at 4pm. The first stage of the project is an invitation through the Slow Food UK website at to record what you already know about your area via a simple survey form. Once this is established Slow Food UK will work to protect existing heritage orchards and trees to ensure sustainability. They will work towards reintroducing local varieties to an area through a community orchard or school garden. This could result in the creation of new orchards to plant native varieties that may have been lost to a particular area.

Slow Food UK Director, Sue Miller is leading the project and commented that “It is important to create awareness through education. Engaging the community especially children is the key to bringing to the home, the importance of our food heritage. Through young people and working with schools we can reach families and connect them with our convivia and their local food heritage.”

Once records have been established Slow Food will provide a knowledge bank on the Slow Food UK website. This will include information on orchard maintenance, educational worksheets, traditional customs and recipes using orchard produce to capture the flavours and tastes that are part of our unique heritage. Through the Slow Food convivia they will bring the community together to celebrate our food heritage and educate for the future.

Jamie Oliver has proved through his Ministry of Food initiative that there is a need to “pass it on” within the community and this has never been more poignant in the protection of our food heritage.

Sue Miller

Notes for Editors:
• The Orchard Project will be launched at the BBC Good Food Show in London Olympia on November 14 at The Slow Food UK Stand (Gallery Level SL9) at 4pm,all press are invited
The Slow Food UK new Website will be launched on November 14 2008
• Photo’s of orchard events run in the pilot scheme through Slow Food Bedford can be obtained by emailing [email protected] or by calling Sue Miller (UK Director) on 07753780607.

UK Operations Manager/UK Stand Organiser
Phil Maile – 07802684563
Email: [email protected]

Slow Food UK
Slow Food UK is a non-profit, voluntary educational and campaigning
organisation – the national arm of the international Slow Food movement, with
a dedicated office in Ludlow, Shropshire – that protects British food, preserves biodiversity and promotes food and taste education. If you would like to find out how to join the movement and your nearest convivium, please send an email to [email protected]. or call 01584 879599.

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